People are going to be pissed off no matter who wins this election and that is a very important social dynamic we believe is vastly under appreciated by the majority of mainstream pundits and analysts out there. This is also very distinct from the environment that prevailed in 2008. Should Romney win, the 28% of Americans that identify as Republican will be thrilled, and the remaining 72% will be largely upset and on edge. Should Obama win, similarly, the 32% registered Democrat with be thrilled and the remaining 68% will be upset and on edge. Hence, the 70% referred to in the title of this article. This is a recipe ripe for social unrest and it will be coming to our shores as we outlined recently in The Global Spring.
Define headline heaven? Any time you can gratuitoulsy insert the names Art Cashin, Becky Quick and Paul Krugman in the same title. Like in this case. HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
"Inappropriate and despicable." The candidates, that is.
The debates are over; and perhaps last night's 'chat' was the least interesting from any substantive angle of any of the interactions given the candidates tendency to agree on virtually everything (apart from bayonets) - and still say absolutely nothing. In the interests of being fair and balanced - as we always are - we present two sides of this epic farce. First, the Asian animated interpretation - for some light-hearted insight into just how our potential leaders are perceived across the ocean after last night's debate; and second, a more retrospective view by Ben Tanosborn on the three 'meaningless' debates - and the questions that should have been asked. "Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have shown to be equally adept at dealing with trivia and secondary issues... and equally inept at dealing with every substantive issue."
While the theater of the presidential election hits peak season, and InTrade odds for this candidate or that are approaching flash crash territory, the one person who truly runs not only the US, but the entire "developed" world, Ben Bernanke, is going nowhere. At least not until January 2014. At which point he may be going somewhere - retirement. Reuters cites the NYT: "U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told close friends he probably will not stand for a third term at the central bank even if President Barack Obama wins the November 6 election, the New York Times reported." In other words: the republican Fed Chairman who mysteriously became a Democrat president's bestest friend (and has been publicly threatened by every other GOP candidate, including Romney, although that would be merely to replace him with Bill Dudley, not Glenn Hubbard) that $4 trillion that the Fed will have in assets at the time of Ben's departure, and $5 trillion at December 31, 2014, just became someone else's problem. Good luck to that someone else unwinding a Fed balance sheet which as we explained previously, will at one point in the next 2 years hold well over half of the marketable US Treasury debt inventory. How the sale of this inventory will happen in a time of spiking rates (because that's what the Fed wants - inflation) is literally anyone's guess, because in practice it will never happen.
- Moody’s Cuts Ratings on Catalonia, Four Other Spanish Regions (Bloomberg)
- And the market top: Billionaire Ross Interested in Buying Spanish Bank Assets (Bloomberg)
- Japan Jojima denies govt seeks $250 bln BOJ asset buying boost (Reuters)
- China hints at move to strengthen Communist rule (Reuters)... well everyone else is doing it
- Euro-Area Bailout Fund Faces Challenge at EU’s Highest Court (Bloomberg)
- Obama, Romney now tied in presidential race: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Reuters)
- Former China Leader Jiang Resurfaces Before Political Transition (Bloomberg)
- Some in Congress look to $55 billion fiscal cliff 'fallback' (Reuters)
- CLOs stage comeback in US (FT)
- TXU Teeters as Firms Reap $528 Million Fees (Bloomberg)
- China’s Factories Losing Pricing Power in Earnings Threat (Bloomberg)
Was it just us - or was that a bit of a snoozer? Some fascinating 'off-topic' debates that dragged us from Mali to Massachusetts 1st grade math scores, and from Bayonets to Obamacare. Some reasonable amount of agreement between the two on foreign policy punctuated by flip-flopper and weakling name-calling. Ironically, given our boxing-match meme - the counterpunches were incessant though Romney seemed to play defense more and Obama appeared to more urgently change the discussion (with little impact). Lots of braggadocio on naming multi-syllabic foreign towns and leaders. Obama won the drinking-game challenge by a long-way 53:34. Obama also won the 'time-spoken' challenge (by the narrowest margin of the 3 debates) 41:42 to 41:07. Obama's odds of an election win levitated modestly from the beginning (from around 59.5% to 61.5%). Of course, Wal-Mart got very, very quiet when the cheap China import bashing started, but luckily it too was based on generic 10 second attention span talking points, and led nowhere, so the Waltons can get back to doing what they do best. So far an Obama clean-sweep on our scientific study, which of course was highly irrelevant: all the truly important foreign issues (EU, China economic ascendancy, Japanese decline) were ignored. Why? The "Mr. Chairman will get to work" of course, showing once again who is truly in charge.
The last time we checked on the (funding) status of America's real presidential race - the one where America's uber-wealthy try to outspend each other in hopes of purchasing the best president money can buy - the totals were substantially lower. With November 6 rapidly approaching, however, the scramble to lock in those record political lobbying IRRs is in its final lap. And thanks to the unlimited nature of PAC spending, look for the spending to really go into overdrive in the next 2 weeks as the spending frenzy on the world's greatest tragicomedy hits previously unseen heights.
- Debt Fuels a Dividend Boom - Firms Collect Payouts, and Investors Get Yield; 'Reminiscent of the Bubble Era' (WSJ)
- Black Monday Echoes With Computers Failing to Restore Confidence (BBG)
- Poll: Obama Leads in Wisconsin, Iowa (WSJ)
- Gold Imports by India Seen Climbing First Time in Six Quarters (BBG)
- Europe pushes ahead towards ECB bank supervision (Reuters)
- ... And fails: Summit fails to agree timetable for aid to failing lenders (FT)
- Toyota Prius Dominates California as State’s No. 1 Model (BBG)
- Italy raises €18bn in huge bond sale (FT)
- Diplomacy inbox fills up as U.N. awaits U.S. presidential vote (Reuters)
- Goldman braced for more revelations (FT)
- China power brokers agree preferred leadership team (Reuters)
- EU, Japan Warn Against New US Swaps Rules (WSJ)
- Why VaR is the most meaningless contraption ever: Morgan Stanley shows the ‘flaky’ side of model (FT)
- Made in France Trumps Consumer Choice in Hollande Jobs Quest (BBG)
- North Korea threatens South over propaganda balloons (Reuters)
With less than 20 days to go to the election, the Presidential race has tightened following Romney's performances in the debates, as the Republican challenger has overtaken the president in the national averages for the first time this year (and RealClearPolitics has him with an edge in the electoral college also). But ever the fair-and-balance bank, Citi believes that Obama's advantages remain substantial, as an incumbent president in an improving economic environment. In this broad discussion, the Pandit-less bank addresses 'the data' driving their Obama call, what would have to happen for a Romney win, the Senate and House split, The Tea Party (and other unusual events), and the 'bungee jump'-causing headline risk of the pending Fiscal Cliff debate. Everything you need to know about the election-critical states, players, and events (and who would win in a fist-fight), but were afraid to ask Wolf Blitzer.
Playing in the market, with Phil.
With 20 days left to the big day and the candidates seemingly in a tighter race than many expected it seems appropriate to look at how the equity market is and will be positioned for a potential changing of the guard if Mitt Romney wins or if incumbent Barack Obama remains in charge. Credit Suisse has created a comprehensive 'cheat-sheet' outlining key issues for the election for each candidate, the sector impact of an Obama or Romney victory, and the extent to which that impact is already factored into current market prices. Everything you wanted to know about gaming the outcome of the election but were afraid to ask.
For those who watched last night's pre-presidential theater, our condolences. You were not alone, however. Art Cashin was there too and here is his post-mortem.
- Hillary Clinton Accepts Blame for Benghazi (WSJ)
- In Reversal, Cash Leaks Out of China (WSJ)
- Spain Considers EU Credit Line (WSJ)
- China criticizes new EU sanctions on Iran, calls for talks (Reuters)
- Portugal sees third year of recession in 2013 budget (Reuters)
- Greek PM says confident Athens will secure aid tranche (Reuters)
- Fears over US mortgages dominance (FT)
- Fed officials offer divergent views on inflation risks (Reuters)
- China Credit Card Romney Assails Gives Way to Japan (Bloomberg)
- Fed's Williams: Fed Actions Will Improve Growth (WSJ)
- Rothschild Quits Bumi to Fight Bakries’ $1.2 Billion Offer (Bloomberg)
The percentage of Americans who reside in the lowest income quintile and move up either to the middle quintile or higher has been in decline over the past three decades. This statistic should be alarming as it is indicative of stagnation within an economy that supposedly fosters the entrepreneurial spirit. In a world of scarcity, opportunity for a better life is an ever-present reality. In the marketplace, success is achieved by making others better off. Achievement for the state means trampling on the rights of others. One embodies the elements of peace and cooperation which give way to fostering incalculable opportunities to thrive. The other results in a perpetual state of conflict between those who “pay the taxes” and “those who are the recipients of their proceeds.” The state creates opportunity for latter and decimates it for the former. The only way to set free the innovative minds who build wealth and opportunity is to scale back this exploitive state of affairs.